LED or Neon Sign? What’s The Difference?

LED and neon signs are used everywhere. Making the choice as to which one use for your outdoor signage is tough. What is the difference between the two?  Which one will last longer?  Is one cheaper?  Which one will work better for my business?

Signage is a major part of your advertising budget.  Let’s break down the pros and cons of LED signs versus neon signs:

Business signage is an important part of your advertising budget and you want to make the right decision. So let’s compare the pros and cons of LED signs versus neon signs.  Here is a list of the most important differences:

Price. LED signs are approximately 10% less expensive than comparable neon signs.  But, the initial price difference between LED and neon is not a significant factor in determining which sign you need for your business. But, once you compare the total cost of purchase, maintenance, and operation of LED signs versus neon signs the difference then becomes sizable.

Space usage.  LED signs are significantly thinner than neon signs, approximately 25-33% thinner. Because neon is bulkier than LED lights, neon signs tend to wider and taller than their LED counterparts. This usually isn’t an issue for most business owners hanging signs in their windows or walls. The biggest difference between LED and neon signs is in depth. An LED sign is only 1 inch thick. A neon sign will be approximately 3-5 inches deep because the glass tubing needs to extend away from its backing.

Shipping and installation.  LED signs cost significantly less to to ship and install compared to neon signs because they are so much thinner and lighter.  They also come complete with hanging hardware—it’s as easy as hanging a picture.

Brightness.  LED signs are very bright yet clear and easy to read from a distance. On the other hand, neon signs tend to look a bit blurry from far away.  LED signs are also easy to see in direct sunlight, while it can be hard to tell if a neon sign is on or not in the daylight.

Green factor.  LED signs and lighting use very little power, making them much more ecofriendly compared to neon signs. LED signs use only 10 watts of power—that’s 6-10 times less than neon signs.  Because they use such little power, LED signs stay cool and are safe to touch. Low-power usage also means you’ll save a lot of money on your electric bill.  Over time, neon signs can slowly leak toxic gases like argon and mercury out.  This why you sometimes see neon signs flickering or with letters burnt out.  LED sign technology does not use these toxic gases and is therefore much safer to use.

Maintenance.  LED signs are virtually maintenance free. There are no gases, no glass tubes, no argon or mercury problems and LED lights never run out. They lights don’t have as many issues or problems because they are simply little lights.  Neon signs eventually lose all of the neon inside the glass tubes which means you have to replace the gas or buy a new sign. With neon signs, the tubes must be cleaned off, while LED signs are much easier to clean than neon signs.  LED signs last up to 100,000 hours, even if left on 24/7.

Animation:  Because LED signs are made of many separate lights, they offer many more animation options than their neon sign counterparts.

In the LED vs. neon sign comparison, LED signs are the clear winner. They are fantastic, budget-friendly way to attract customers.